What can I do to help my brother and dad's deteriorating relationship

Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2020 11:05 am
Hi, I'll try and accurately describe this as concisely as possible... my brother moved out a few years ago to live with his long-term girlfriend against my parents' (mostly my dad's) wishes, but over those years my brother has been calling home less, visiting for the holidays less, etc. which I think is a product of the years of my parents' misplaced parental concern, projected on to his successful (and really great girlfriend) among other relatively minor aspects about how he lives his life. I constantly have to defend him behind his back (he's happy and healthy), but I'm running out of excuses for him because he's just not around. It's this negative feedback cycle where him not being around as a product of their misplaced blame and disapproval, being interpreted by my parents as my brother just not wanting anything to do with my parents (and it really hurts them). As much as I envy and applaud all the things my brother has done (and I'll love him no matter what), my parents don't deserve to be treated like this. At the same time, I think a lot of their complaints and opinions about him aren't fair and it's sad to see him get treated like a second-class citizen to his twin (me).
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2020 11:16 am
Butt out.

I know you're going to resist this advice.

Follow it anyway.

Everyone is an adult, yes?

Then it's up to your brother if he wants to fight any battles with your folks, or whatever are his conditions for forgiveness or whatever.

If your folks bad mouth your brother, your response is, "He's my brother and I love him. Please stop talking about him this way."

Then you change the subject. If that doesn't work, then you leave the room.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

If your folks demand some sort of an explanation, then tell them it's unfair for them to put you in the middle of things. "And here's his number. Please call him if you feel the need to talk about him and leave me out of it."

Then get your jacket and go for a walk or a drive. Remove yourself from the situation.

Will they make up?

Who the hell knows?

But in the meantime, understand that everyone is behaving childishly. And you can love all of the parties in this equation without having to play mediator. You also don't have to be a repository for hostility -- so if your brother bad mouths your folks, you can say the same to him.

And no matter what, it is not on you to fix any of this. Will they regret their behavior? Probably. Again, not your call to rush in like a white knight and fix them.
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